It seems the pirate-theme will stay with us for another post. I like this peculiar little set quite a lot and remember seeing a preview of it last year somewhere. My first impulse was “I have to get this one” – and then I forgot about it again.
Until recently, when I was visiting a local store. Ok, the Ninjago-theme is a bit odd, to say the least, and I don’t really have a clue about it, but its steampunk design is simply a winner and so I became a happy Lego airship owner.
Assembling of the set’s almost 300 pieces isn’t a too hard task and it applies quite neat building techniques like SNOT for the sides of the hull and the implementation of Technic-parts to mount the gas-envelope/rocket-engine-thing. Some people, who may prefer more realistic sets, actually might have problems with this. There is no real plausibility in its design, but if you ask me: it doesn’t needs to be plausible if it looks good – and it does. The only thing I would (and will) change though is the computer panels behind the steering wheel. To say they look anachronistic is an understatement. Another gun or a telescope or maybe a lantern or two would have been so much better instead. A neat detail btw. is the pirate-flag which is actually a piece of pre-cut plastic foil. It looks pretty sturdy and flexes nicely when attached at its mast. If it would feature a more generic jolly roger, my steampunked Black Seas Barracuda would have got a new flag (there were two in the box!).
The armament is nicely diverse. We have the heavy pirate-ship’s cannon mounted forward, about the big dragon figurehead (very cool looking btw), two fixed stud-shooters at the sides as defence against pesky attackers and – a very neat feature – a droppable barrel full of dynamite. Boom.
When completely assembled, the ship is a bit flimsy and the long decorative oars along its sides are easily pushed out of place. Also not all of the segments of the… lets call it “gas envelope”, to keep it simple, are perfectly fitting to each other. The result is slight steps here and there. Nothing terrible though.
The mini-flyer however, which comes with the Zeppelin and is used by Zane (the blue Ninja) to attack it, is a… strange aggregation of pieces with no clear purpose and will work best as a resource for spare-parts.
The Minifigs are however are… very well detailed but definitely on the weird side. A grinning Samurai-Zombie of sorts (Dubloon) and his henchman (or henchlizard) Clancee, who is green and has the head of a snake. Dubloon wields a pretty mean looking serrated saber – with skull engraving on the hand-guard: sweet!. Clancee was less lucky though. His weapon is a large broom with an added spike on its top and… of course a bucket – what else! All in all I can’t really say that I’m a friend of these two Minifigs, but I’m sure I find some use for them. I will definitely replace them with a proper pirate-crew though!
The only human (at least I think he is) in the set is Zane, who I mentioned already. He comes with a blue and a silver face (a fighting mask maybe?), two golden swords, a scabbard for his back, a couple of ninja stars and a nicely modelled Ninja-style cap with cloth wrappings. Very well done.
Also included is something which looks like a huge magic sword with its guard made of axe heads. I assume its something our Zeppelin Crew did steal and Zane tries to retrieve.
All in all the Raid Zeppelin is a set you either love or shake your head at. It is clearly on the fantasy-side of things and the Minifigs are pretty weird, but very nicely detailed and come with ample accessories. The ship itself is wonderfully unconventional and something that simply wants to be swooshed around while making silly engine-noises!